When getting divorced, all marital property is to be equitably divided between the parties. Keep in mind equitable distribution does not necessarily equal. Martial property is defined as property acquired during the marriage regardless of who’s name the property is titled under.
However, what about inheritance? Generally, the answer is no. There are a few exceptions to what a court may consider as marital property and one such exception is an inheritance. With every rule, there is usually an exception. If you received your inheritance and placed it into a joint account, the court may find that you comingled the funds and converted this into marital property. Of course if you had nowhere else to put the money, you can claim that the money was placed there as a matter of convenience and argue an exception to the presumption of comingling.
The safest course of action would be to place your inheritance into a separate account in which your spouse does not have access. However, few people think about the legal status of an inheritance when they receive it—nor should they. If you did not put your money in a separate account and you are now contemplating divorce, transfer the money to a separate account now. The arguments will still be the same, however, separating the money in question makes it easier
to deal with should a fight ensue.
Before fighting over this issue, speak to your spouse. See if they are really trying to make a claim to this money. A calm conversation may keep you from litigating this issue which will only save both of you time and money. It also allows you to shift your attention to the issues of greater importance—the completion of the divorce.